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Reality Queen!

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Reality Queen! Movie Poster Image
Tired, crude celebutante parody isn't funny.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 84 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This parody is intended to reveal how reality stars stage and produce their real life to gain public attention, but there's no positive message. Cruel humor at the expense of marginalized groups.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A female journalist is the questioning voice of reason amid Hollywood's worst, but, in the end, she's part of the system too.

Violence

A character is comically throttled around the neck. Two women, one of whom appears to be pregnant, get into a reality show-style fight (pushing and shoving). Characters are mean and hostile to each other.

Sex

Main character's sex tape is a recurring topic of discussion. To get attention, she wears tight/revealing clothing and stages (blurred) "nip slips" and "crotch shots" when she knows she's being photographed. Another character is a sex addict. Heavy innuendo and crude terminology, including about having multiple partners at the same time.

Language

Frequent strong language includes "ass," "bitch," "c--t," "d--k," "goddamn," "hell," "s--t," "screw," "t-ts," "whore," and several uses of "f--k." 

Consumerism

Main character lives a lavish lifestyle, but she's the subject of derision; she meets a friend who's given up the pursuit of fame and money in exchange for a sane, simple life.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Character snorts cocaine off a red carpet; prescription pill bottles shown in the background, including one that reads Oxycodone. Characters drink alcohol. In one bar scene, a character gets drunk and hooks up with a man she just met. A wealthy character smokes a cigar. A tween describes "weed brownies."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reality Queen! is a satire about reality TV "celebutantes." While Kardashian-inspired characters are the antagonists, main character London Logo (Julia Faye West) is clearly based on Paris Hilton. The fame-grabbing moves and scandals of Hilton and her Simple Life TV partner Nicole Richie are parodied, including sex tapes, substance use/abuse (cocaine, pills, alcohol, etc.), addiction, and private parts being "accidentally" exposed in front of the paparazzi. Most teens won't be familiar enough with Hilton, her show, or the way celebrity culture was covered in the early 2000s to get the jokes. The mean humor -- including cracks at gay and little people -- also feels dated. While most viewers aren't likely to find the film funny, clever, or insightful, the dumb humor might appeal to tweens and young teens -- who, in turn, could pick up some of the film's crude phrases, like "c--t dragon" and "whose d--k do I need to suck to get some d--k?" London's sex tape is a recurring topic of discussion, there are (blurred) "nip slips" and "crotch shots," a character is a sex addict, and there's lots of innuendo.

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What's the story?

In a quest to be taken seriously, former reality TV star/heiress London Logo (Julia Faye West) agrees to be the subject of a British TV documentary. As renowned BBS journalist Diana Smeltmartin (Kate Orsini) spends a week shadowing and interviewing the original REALITY QUEEN!, London's desperate techniques to stay relevant are exposed. 

Is it any good?

Reality Queen! is more insipid than the celebrity culture it mocks. In fact, to call this film a satire, a parody, or a mockumentary gives it more credit than it deserves. Somehow, eight writers worked on this and still couldn't come up with a joke good enough to yield one laugh-out-loud moment -- or even a snort. Maybe a snert. It's the type of film where you spend half the time wondering who financed it and then hoping they sue for fraud. 

Reality Queen! is also the type of film where "well, THIS part wasn't half bad" is the best compliment you can come up with. And, in that vein, the movie's concept isn't half bad. Exploring how Paris Hilton originated the reality star socialite prototype and manipulated her image, the paparazzi, and the press is ripe subject matter, especially when you contrast it with how the Kardashians built off her blueprint and added a slippier slope. But the writing here is so rudimentary that a community center introductory comedy writing course wouldn't allow the script to leave the premises. Writer-producer-director Steven Jay Bernheim and his star/wife, West, believe that they're letting the world in on a secret, but it's something we already know: Reality shows aren't real. It's like when you're a kid and you think you've come up with something big, so you write a song or play, and your friends and family tell you it was great. But then when you look back years later, you realize it was terrible. That's what this film is. That's reality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the authenticity (or lack thereof) in reality TV. Where is the line? Do you think producers fabricating storylines is OK? What do you think the long-term effect is on a reality star who's made to be the villain or the butt of the joke?  

  • Is Reality Queen! a parody, a satire, or a spoof? What's the difference? Can a movie be more than one?

  • Did any of the movie's jokes strike you as being mean-spirited? Comedy often targets those who are of higher status, so when you make fun of those who are of lower status, it can feel nasty. Did you feel that any of the humor was in bad taste?

  • What do you think it would be like to be famous? Do you think it would be lonely, as the film implies? Do you think having lots of money and being invited to great parties would make up for the shortcomings of fame? 

  • How does the movie portray substance use/abuse? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

For kids who love celebrity send-ups

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